The star of New York City's skyline, The Chrysler Building
Breathtaking colors of Central Park in fall
So the day is quite tight and you can only squeeze a couple of hours between a conference and lunch meeting. Why not decompress yourself by taking a walk in the famous Central Park? Not only it is one of the most magnificent man made urban park, it is also the most significant landmark of New York City. Every part of this 843 acres of the city's gem is unique and any trip to the city is incomplete without a visit. If you had to do one thing and one thing alone in the city it has to be the park especially if time is a factor. No queue, no hassle, no tickets needed, just you and nature!
Halal Guy on 53rd Street between 6th and 5th Avenue
Street food carts are synonym with the city. Everywhere you go you're bound to bum into carts on the street side selling anything from pretzels to hotdogs. A few years ago I was on a vacation in New York city and while browsing the city, I saw this long queue that got my curiosity bubbling. I then found out the queue lead to a humble cart selling a mix menu of Middle Eastern street food of rice combination with meat (lamb, chicken) or gyros by a bunch of young man calling themselves The Halal Guys. These guys are so popular in the city that even the stars were spotted queuing to get a piece of them! Along the way I passed by the cart many times in multiple visits and the queue never stops. The queue actually gets longer at night right at the time when the pubs and clubs are closing. So, if you are up for a taste of Middle East right in the heart of the city while brushing shoulders with the locals, head to the 53rd Street between 5th and 6th avenue. Who knows you might bum into a celebrity? ;)
If your hotel happened to be in the Lower Manhattan area, a quick swing over to Little Italy is surely a must, whether to dine at one of the many authentic Italian restaurants or stop by for a quick grab of gelato, cannoli and espresso or just to browse around the blocks. Get lost in one of the fascinating gift shops with so many interesting items on display, you're bound be get out with some great stuff to remember the trip by. For me the uniqueness of Little Italy is in its people - the ushers of the restaurants, shop keepers, these characters are so colorful! Sadly Little Italy is shrinking and it is not surprising if one day it will cease to exist. So, grab an opportunity to stop by while you can!
The Last Ship, now playing at Neil Simon Theater
If your night is not so busy, why not try and catch a Broadway show? There are so many productions playing, sometimes it is hard to choose what to watch. The best is try and contact the concierge of your hotel for the list of shows or visit broadway.com for the full listings and timing of the shows. You can also book your tickets online or head directly to the box-office to try your luck and get the tickets. On my last trip to the city, I managed to watch a play based on Sting's latest album called The Last Ship and it was worth the price of the tickets! I would watch it again, anytime.
Do not fancy Broadway? How about being in the live audience of a TV show instead? If you know the dates of your trip way in advance, you can try and request for tickets to be in the taping of these shows. New York city is the home of shows like Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live to name a few. If you are a fan, you might have a chance to watch them live by applying for free tickets on the website. The downside is this taping would normally take some time and unless you do not plan to do much, it might not be for you.
There is no easier way to take in the spirit of New York city than just to walk along 5th Avenue. With so many stores like Tiffany & Co, Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, Apple store, and great structures like NY Public Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Empire State Building and St Patrick Cathedral, you will never be out of things to see. It is amazing how an avenue can offer so much. It is best to know where to start as 5th avenue is 7 miles long! Unless you have the whole day to spare, you might want to plan your walk accordingly.
I believe that no stay is too short to experience New York city. As intimidating as it can be, New York city is actually quite easy to navigate even for an out-of-towner. I suggest that you download an app on your smart phone (Ulmon City Maps To Go is fabulous) to help you with the navigation and find places you wish to go. Know what you want to do and plan properly, I am sure anybody can have a good time and bring home some fabulous memories from this great city.